Echo can be a troublesome thing.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a track on Austin-based Roger Sellers’ second Bayonne album that isn’t drenched in shimmering reverb. The ten tracks here are all complex, painstakingly-wrought, many-layered affairs achieved in a manner not dissimilar to the way Brian Wilson developed the distinctive sound of Pet Sounds; but the final layer throughout is an impenetrable fog of echo, and the effect is to give even the most upbeat moments here – the mesmerising piano-led ‘Uncertainty Deranged’ or the densely percussive title track – an uncertain, awkward, unfathomable quality.
Sellers wrote the album in a relatively dissociative frame of mind amid the relentless gigging that accompanied his debut; a feeling of arriving but never staying. That gives Drastic Measures a dynamic of constantly moving, never once still, even its most tranquil moments containing a propulsive restlessness.
From the tender, resigned balladry of the haunting ‘Bothering’ to the insistent drama of ‘I Know’, Drastic Measures is an album that can’t help but leave an indelible mark on you – you just won’t be able to tell if you feel better or more confused about yourself when it’s all over.
You can thank that pesky echo for that.
Drastic Measures is released by City Slang on February 22 2019.
Words: Mat Smith
(c) 2019 Further.